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10 Things You Didn't Know About ENERGY STAR® LED Lighting

You may already know that ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs will save you big (they use 90% less energy) and will last a really long time (over 20 years on average). They are also really good for the environment. But there are plenty of other reasons why you should make sure the light bulbs you buy carry the little blue label.

1. ENERGY STAR bulbs are independently certified You can feel confident about your bulb purchase because ENERGY TAR bulbs are certified by independent third parties. Bulb manufacturers submit products to accredited laboratories for testing against ENERGY STAR requirements for higher quality and lower energy use. Results are evaluated by accredited third parties for a pass or fail. All of these checks are in place to help make sure you get the experience you expect from your lighting. 

2. Products must meet rigorous tests and standards set by the EPA  Speaking of requirements, every ENERGY STAR certified bulb is evaluated against a checklist of more than 20 attributes, to help ensure you get a product that will live up to your expectations.

3. Subject to ongoing market surveillance Even after a lighting product has earned the ENERGY STAR label, it is still subject to random "off-the-shelf" testing. Yet another check to help make sure you get what you paid for.

4. Certified bulbs must deliver the same level of light as your old bulbs Among other things, the testing and evaluation process works to make sure the level of light from the bulb matches the brightness of traditional incandescent bulbs. Bulbs that earn the ENERGY STAR meet minimum light output requirements to ensure you get as much light (lumens) as the package claims. Check the packaging for which LED bulbs are equivalent to 60W, 75W or 100W bulbs.

LED Brightness

5. Bulbs come in a variety of light colors proven to last ENERGY STAR LED lighting products are subject to six different requirements for color to ensure good light color up front and over their long lifespan.

ENERGY STAR bulbs also come in a variety of shades of light that are determined by their Kelvin (K) number. You can choose the light color you want based on the room and the activity.

Warm to Cool LED Bulbs

6. These bulbs last longer than most things in your home ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs undergo thousands of hours of testing to support those long life claims of 20+ years. They also undergo stress tests in operating environments similar to how you will use them. Most electronics only offer 1 year warranties, but ENERGY STAR LED lighting must have a minimum 3 year warranty. 

7. Most are dimmable ENERGY STAR LED bulbs and fixtures indicate whether they are dimmable or not on the front of the package -- and most are. Dimmable ENERGY STAR certified lighting products have a website listed on the bulb package for more information about how to match the bulb or fixture with dimmer switches.

8. Offers light where you expect it ENERGY STAR LED products must demonstrate they deliver light in all directions, not just a limited range as shown in the photo below (non-certified LED bulb on the left). Also, ENERGY STAR certified reflector bulbs -- often referred to as "flood" or "spot" lights -- really deliver and direct light as good or better than a traditional incandescent flood or spot bulbs.

Two lamps, one with an LED bulb

9. Fit in your light fixture ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs fit the size and shape of the bulb type they replace. If you have incandescent BR30 bulbs in your recessed cans and want to replace them with LED bulbs, look for the ENERGY STAR certified LED bulb labeled BR30 to make sure the bulb will fit. 

Bulb Types

Find out more information in the Lighting Made Easy guide (PDF).

10. It's the easiest way to lower your electric bill Upgrading to ENERGY STAR certified LED lighting is the simplest way to lower energy use, and you don't have to think about replacing them for decades. 

Payback times for the purchase of a 60-watt equivalent bulb are now only one year, and considering a 20+ year life, that's at least 20 years of pure savings -- about $75 per bulb. 

Check out www.energystar.gov/LED for more information.

About the Author: Taylor Jantz-Sell is the ENERGY STAR lighting program manager at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She oversees marketing and product development for ENERGY STAR lighting products.